OECD Economics Department Working Papers

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Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

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Vulnerability of Social Institutions

Lessons from the Recent Crisis and Historical Episodes You or your institution have access to this content

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Falilou Fall1, Mauro Pisu1, Jon Kristian Pareliussen1, Debra Bloch1
Author Affiliations
  • 1: OECD, France

03 July 2014
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The recent economic crisis has provided a stress test for the vulnerability of social institutions. This paper assesses the vulnerability of social institutions in light of the current crisis, and surveys past episodes, when social institutions faced similar challenges. Public pay-as-you-go pension systems have generally weathered the crisis well, but private pension funds were severely affected by the financial crisis. While health care spending drifted up further in the early part of the crisis, it levelled off in 2010 and 2011, on average in the OECD, for an unprecedented two years with no spending growth. But, in countries hard hit by the crisis public outlays on health care declined considerably. Unemployment insurance expenditure increased during the crisis in most OECD countries. In some countries, spending rose considerably more than the number of unemployed, reflecting an extension or more generous benefits, while in others the increase was considerably smaller, pointing to adequacy problems of those unemployment insurance schemes. Five country case studies focusing on how social institutions absorbed shocks in the more distant past are also examined and lessons are drawn from these experiences.
social protection, health care, pension scheme, unemployment insurance
JEL Classification:
  • H51: Public Economics / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies / Government Expenditures and Health
  • H53: Public Economics / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies / Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
  • H55: Public Economics / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies / Social Security and Public Pensions
  • I13: Health, Education, and Welfare / Health / Health Insurance, Public and Private
  • I38: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty / Government Policy ; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
  • J11: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
  • J26: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Retirement ; Retirement Policies
  • J65: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers / Unemployment Insurance ; Severance Pay ; Plant Closings
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